The Fine Line of Boundaries
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Last night, I had the privilege of being courtside at an Indiana Pacers game. One of the things I noticed being on the court and watching the players, is they are very keen to their feet. They are constantly aware of that boundary line in which if they cross, they will hear the whistle letting them know they’re out of bounds. It got me thinking about the boundary lines we have for our kids and how consistent we are with those boundaries.
You know, I’ve never understood those parents who just let their kids do whatever they want. I wonder why they do. Could it be due to guilt? Or just not caring? I mean, in the last experience I had in dealing with a child with no boundaries, the parents had split up when she was 3 years-old. She is now 16 and for most of her life, neither of her parents really ever said “no.” Anything she wanted, no matter the cost or the extreme, was given to her. There was never enough discipline to have her consistently partake in household responsibilities. She never really had a bedtime, and she really didn’t respect her parents because she was always given what she wanted.
When I think about this, I wonder if the parents just thought it would be easier to do it themselves, rather than teach the child how to, then have to deal with the frustration of the learning process. (In other words, the frustration of getting it wrong, having to re-teach, getting it wrong again, having to re-teach, etc.) Or, perhaps they felt guilty over divorcing and separating the family, so they thought it would be easier to make sure she was “loved,” so they just took care of everything for her. Maybe, they didn’t think she was capable of doing it right. Who knows…what I DO know, is there are consequences to raising children with no boundaries, and I’ve witnessed it.
Then we have the opposite extreme: The parents who refuse to let their children to anything. There is really no way this is healthy either. There has to be a balance. Children function best when there are boundaries. Studies have shown this over and over. One of the cool things about McGruff Safeguard is that it allows you to give a certain amount of freedom, but with boundaries. With the service updating you on any peculiar behavior, you can rest assured knowing you will be aware of potentially dangerous or sneaky activity.
Just as the pro-basketball players have to watch their feet while playing the game to be sure they don’t step out of bounds, we need to do the same for our kids. Allow Mcgruff Safeguard to help referee your kids’ computer behavior today. Help us help you keep your children safe online.
Labels: basketball, boundaries, Indiana Pacers, McGruff Safeguard
posted by Lindsay Manfredi at 6:56 AM Link to this Article
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I ran away from home when I was 14 years-old. I had a family that loved me but I wanted no part of it because my parents were extremely controlling. I couldn’t do this. I wasn’t allowed to do that. Had the internet been readily available to me as it is today, they would have tried to control that as well. You see, my parents had wonderful intentions, but they were very authoritative. My dad was a control freak, but I believe they thought that if they controlled me, I would turn out “okay” without the “worldly” influence to take me away from God. I hated it, so I left. Thankfully, I only ran away to a friend’s home for two weeks. However, not everyone works that way. Some go to extremes.
When kids put it out there online that they are unhappy and want to run away from home (and they do), that’s when it gets dangerous.
Just Friday morning of last week, a 32 year-old VA man was arrested gettingYou can read the entire story here.
off of a bus in Massachusetts, in route to “rescue” a 12-year old who wanted to
run away. Here is an excerpt from the story:
After the girl posted plans on a website to leave home, O’Brien reached out
to help her and the two began conversing regularly via e-mail, police said. He
said he was 25; she told him she was 14.
“He told her he would come up and help her run away,” King said. “In
October, he e-mailed her and said he had bought a bus ticket to come up.”
O’Brien also purchased a return ticket with the girl’s first name and his last
name, police said.
On Friday, the girl’s parents noticed a change in her behavior and
discovered clothes and money in her backpack, police said. Worried, they checked
her e-mail history while she was at school and then contacted police after
discovering the e-mail messages.
Sometimes I sit back and wonder, “Does this really happen?” No matter how often we hear about it, it’s still shocking and disturbing that there are people out there who prey on young, confused kids. Thankfully, the girl’s parents were concerned enough to poke around and see her internet activity. This is the exact reason McGruff Safeguard is in existence today. This is the kind of activity you can monitor. Had the girl’s parents been able to see ahead of time what was happening, conversation could have taken place to get the relationship back on track. Not every story has a happier ending.
I encourage you to pay close attention to your family, especially if your kids are growing increasingly distant. Use McGruff Safeguard to help monitor. Help us help you keep your family safe because there are predators out there that could care less. If you have any questions or concerns at all, please let us know. We welcome your feedback.
Labels: Internet predators, internet safety, OBrien, running away
posted by Lindsay Manfredi at 5:41 AM Link to this Article
Saturday, November 21, 2009
I don’t know about you, but when I was a teenager, even before my teen years, I had a thing against authority. When my parents told me not to do something, or I “couldn’t” do something, there was some kind of instinct in me that just wanted to test the water. I think this type of thinking will never go away for most teens. Especially when they are really trying to find out who they are and how their voice sounds. I never wanted to be “controlled.” A recent study, conducted by researchers at Örebro University in Sweden, done in the US, looks at how adolescents view and react to parental control. This study appears in the November/December 2009 issue of the journal of Child Development, and this is what it said:
The study has found that young people feel differently about two types of
parental control, generally viewing a type of control that's thought to be
better for their development more positively. However, when parents are very
controlling, young people no longer make this distinction and view both types of
parental control negatively.
Scholars tell us that parental control falls into two categories: behavioral control (when parents help their children regulate themselves and feel competent by providing supervision, setting limits, and establishing rules)and psychological control (when parents are manipulative in their behavior, often resulting in feelings of guilt, rejection, or not being loved). It's thought that behavioral control is better for youngsters'
But the study, which asked 67 American children (7th and 8th graders, as well as 10th and 11th graders) to respond to hypothetical scenarios involving both kinds of control, found that the youths put a negative spin on both types of control when the parents in the scenarios exercised a lot of control. Specifically, when parents showed moderate levels of control, they saw psychological control more negatively than behavioral control, but when parents were very controlling, they viewed both types of control negatively.
Specifically, the youths interpreted high levels of control as intrusive and as indicating that they mattered less as individuals. Intrusiveness is a hallmark of psychological control, according to the researchers, and both high levels of psychological control and feeling that you don't matter have been linked to poorer adjustment.
"Under some conditions, such as when personal choice is restricted, adolescents view
behavioral control as negatively as psychological control," according to the
researchers. "Such negative interpretations may mean that adolescents would
respond as poorly to highly restrictive behavioral control as they do to
Given the results of this study, it would appear that freedom of choice helps kids view behavioral control in a better light. McGruff SafeGuard lets them have all the choice in the world and you can rest assured knowing that someone other than you can monitor their online behavior. McGruff Safeguard keeps you in the know, so you can then focus on building the relationship rather than tearing down walls. What are your thoughts?
Labels: McGruff Safeguard, parental control
posted by Lindsay Manfredi at 9:44 AM Link to this Article
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Growing up today is nothing like it used to be for me, for my parents, or for their parents. It’s a whole different ball game, right? But is it really? Or is the big difference the changes in technology? Or is it the difference in what we consider “acceptable” in today’s society? I wonder this as I write this post. I am going to share a True Story from one of our parents who has been using McGruff Safeguard to monitor her teenager. One of the words she uses to describe culture is “climate.” I really like that word, because maybe the issues haven’t changed. Maybe it’s just a climate that we’ve not had to adapt to as our kids have. Here’s her story:
"I’m not going to drop you in your tracks with stories of how McGruff Safeguard
saved my child from this or that. But I did want to take a second to tell
you that in today's world, my children are growing up in a different climate
than I did. Everyone can pretty much put their finger on that, but it
really makes parenting hard when you don't realize how different it is.
Here, I think I'm talking to her about what I need to be talking to her about and that
I'm parenting in the right way. However, what I found after installing it,
were clues on things that actually were affecting her. I could see I had a
sullen and moody pre-teen/teenager on my hands, but for the life of me, I
couldn't drag the reasons out of her. However, in the past few months, by
just pursuing her conversations and making my own attempts to limit my
"eavesdropping", I have picked up clues to things I needed to be aware of.
I have been able to steer conversations into areas we hadn't yet touched and get
her to actually open up more. I know that it was okay for her to talk to
me. I honestly believe she just didn't know who to broach some
subjects. I now see a happier child and I feel like I made the right
choice. Maybe someday I will have a “drop you in your tracks story.”
I hope not. However, I feel much safer in knowing that I don't have to sit
idly by and watch it happen."
I think this story is brilliant. We hope you can sleep better at night knowing you are aware of what is truly going on inside your child/teen’s world. Maybe we just forget to remember what it’s like to be a teenager since we’re all grown up. I truly think that we often forget in many cases, that understanding is a matter of communication in so many ways. Teens haven’t really learned to communicate that well. This could be out of fear of how we’ll react or fear that we may not understand. I also think we fear how we’ll react. (Where’s the easy button?)
We hope that you’ll be able to use this story and McGruff Safeguard, to understand that it’s all about understanding where your kids and teens are, so you’ll be able to communicate better with them.
What are your thoughts?
Labels: McGruff Safeguard, online parenting, True Stories
posted by Lindsay Manfredi at 9:18 AM Link to this Article
Friday, November 13, 2009
When Sarah Palin was running for President in 2008, her password to her Gmail (email) account was stolen. According to the Huffington Post, the hacker that hacked into Palin’s account “guessed that she met her husband in high school and knew Palin's date of birth and home Zip code. Using those details, the hacker tricked Yahoo Inc.'s service into assigning a new password, "popcorn," for Palin's e-mail account, according to a chronology of the crime published on the Web site where the hacking was first revealed.”
In October of this year, AOL News reported the popular free email, Hotmail, had to advise its users to change their passwords after thousands of email account details were posted online in a massive security breach.
The popular social media platform, Twitter, has had multiple scams (these are called “phishing” scams). Accounts can be hacked or “phished” if you click on a link that is supposedly from one of your “friends.” The message from them could say something like “Check out what your IQ is!” It would then have a link to click. Mashable.com, reported last month that a new worm and phishing scam is spreading on Twitter. The message could come from the hacked accounts of "friends you trust" with a short message ("rofl this you on here?") and a URL leading to a replicated Twitter login page, asking for your account info. If you enter your username and password on this page, you will be infected, and your account used to pass on the worm. Now, if this happens, you go in and change your password.
Most people’s passwords are dates or names that mean something to them. Often times, we use the same password for multiple accounts. If a hacker were to find out one, the probability is there that he could hack into other accounts as well. It can be that easy, and there are lessons to be learned all around. How safe are our accounts online? How safe are our children’s passwords online?
This subject is something I would encourage you to speak about with your children and teens, but also keep in mind for yourself. The Internet allows so many positive aspects as far as accessibility and convenience and social interaction. At the same time, we have to be eduacted, safe, and smart when it comes to our personal accounts.
Labels: hacking, Hotmail, Mashable, passwords, phishing, Sarah Palin, scams, Twitter
posted by Lindsay Manfredi at 8:01 AM Link to this Article
Identity Theft...Not Just an Adult Problem
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Often times, when we think of identity theft, we think of someone who steals our credit cards, our identity, essentially our money. Yes? If you’ve not been a victim of identity theft, the results can be devastating for someone, especially if not caught in time. I have spoke to people who have had to deal with this. Even if it IS taken care of properly and you are not pinged forever on your credit, it is a time consuming feat with re-establishing and re-building.
However, identity theft is not just an “adult” problem these days. With all the social media platforms (the ones our children and teens are using such as Facebook and Myspace), our kids are now prone to “identity” theft as well. This type of identity theft is not like ours though. This is one where malicious teens steal passwords, then get on the victim’s profile page and switch things up that could make that person look bad to other people. They then change the password so the damaging material can’t be changed, at least until the person can reverse it. There are even websites that teach someone how to “steal” passwords.
Well, I have firsthand experience with this. A few years back, after a breakup, the ex-boyfriend stole my password somehow (I still to this day, don’t know how he did it) and changed my profile around. He said things like I was a lesbian looking to…I’ll let you fill in the blanks. It was not nice, it was not cool, and it could have done damaging things to my reputation with some of the things he said. Now, I am an adult who can handle my emotions pretty well. Think about the effects and damage that could do to a child or teenager.
We never know someone’s story on the inside. We never know what could push them “over the edge.” We’ve seen it before as we all learned of the Myspace hoax that led to Megan Meier’s suicide in 2007. I’ve written about it before. When kids get crushed and don’t know how to handle it, they could possibly be prone to making bad decisions. And those decisions could be all over the board…from retaliation of some form, to the extreme of suicide.
If you’re a parent, I would encourage you to talk to your kids about this form of identity theft. Let them know they should never give their passwords out (well, except to you, of course). It’s so important for us to protect our children and teens. To learn more about it, visit McGruff Safeguard. Help us help you keep your kids safe.
Labels: identity theft
posted by Lindsay Manfredi at 7:51 AM Link to this Article
Saturday, November 7, 2009
The other night, my 5-year old decided she was going to hijack my computer. You see, I had been looking up music videos on You Tube. She loves music and enjoys the Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron soundtrack. She asked me to look up some of those videos…she was suddenly hooked. I watched her as she processed different video links, enthralled that she could hear or see anything she chose with just a click of a button. She then asked me to look at some Land Before Time videos and it went from there.
I was monitoring this as it was happening. A little while into her exploring the wonderful world of You Tube, I needed to take a call. In the three minutes that I was away on the phone, I walked back into the room my daughter was in, to hear a video laced with profanity. Someone had placed a song over one of the videos. She had no idea what she had clicked on. I quickly took control and got her back on track. Now, anytime I have my computer out, she requests to see videos because there are so many options.
The point of this story is that children are learning younger and younger how to work computers. I still had typing class in high school...yes, on a typewriter. My daughter has computer sessions in Kindergarten. The shift in technology has made it so much harder to control what our kids stumble upon. Absolutely anything is accessible online, and our kids usually know how to get there. Of course with this, comes much more danger than we could have anticipated. However, we CAN monitor when we aren’t actually there. With McGruff Safeguard, we can keep track of the conversations and friends that our kids are engaging with and having online.
I know that at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is our kids’ safety, both physically and mentally. McGruff Safeguard is free a free service. Help us help you keep your kids safe online.
Labels: internet safety, Land before time, Spirit, You Tube
posted by Lindsay Manfredi at 11:03 AM Link to this Article
School Takes a Stand Against Bullying
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
In light of our recent blog posts on cyber bullying, the following article depicts how some schools are really taking a stand against bullying…both on school grounds and via technology.
BURLEY - Students and staff at Cassia County schools who engage in any type
of bullying behavior could find themselves expelled from school or their
The Cassia County School District unanimously approved an amended policy on
student harassment that includes new language against bullying someone over
sexual orientation. It also includes a new policy titled "Prohibition Against
Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying" that outlines the district's response to
issues such as spreading rumors, cyber bullying and "sexting," which have become
issues since the original policy was adopted in 2000.
"These reflect current things we experience in the community and other
parts of the state," said district Superintendent Gaylen Smyer.
The new policies put in place guidelines that define cyber bullying as the
use of any electronic communications device to convey a message in any format -
including audio, video, text, graphics, or photographs - that intimidates,
harasses or intends to harm another individual.
"Parental awareness will play a big role in this," Smyer said.
According to the policy, school administrators will report any conduct they
believe is in violation of the law to local law enforcement and no retaliation
will be taken by the district, employees or students for someone who reports
harassment or bullying.
The district will maintain a written record that is submitted to the
district with witness statements and investigative reports. Those records will
be kept in district administrative offices and will not be purged by district
personnel without board approval.
The prohibition extends not only to actions on school grounds but those
originating at a remote location and carried out via technology. The policy also
includes a section on district employees and staff members engaging in bullying
behavior. (This article was written last week by Laurie Welch.)
We commend this school for taking a stand to protect those who can’t always protect themselves. Kids and teens SHOULD be protected from bullies. It is my hope that parents are not only trying to protect their kids from bullying, but also trying to teach them to not BE bullies. This ultimately begins in the home. It makes me think about the type of parent I am. How am I with my friends? What kind of example am I setting? Am I being kind to the people in my life? Do I have bullying behavior?
As parents, we have to keep in mind that we are the prime example setters. What can we do in our lives every day to secure a positive foundation for our kids? McGruff Safeguard is here to help make you aware of what’s going on out there. Let us know if you have any questions!
Labels: bullying, Cassia County, internet laws, Laurie Welch
posted by Lindsay Manfredi at 2:04 PM Link to this Article